25 January 2009

This day in history...

This day in history...

As admin for our cold war history group on facebook, I check in at History.com for highlights every couple days or 10. Today's news of note that caught my eye is not related to cold war origins, but still timely. On this day in 1961, JFK held first live TV news conference. Fast forward to now: Within moments of the inaugural ceremony, President Obama had his staff launch the Whitehouse blog AND they're tweeting (haven't looked on facebook yet). And you've probably already heard about his Blackberry addiction. Hooray for presidential technophilia!

How will our government be communicating with us 40 to 50 years from now? I'm hoping NOT the stuff of old science fiction, like in-home CCTV monitoring, or chips embedded in our necks. Although law enforcement is using CCTV surveillance and license plate scanners on city streets in North America and the U.K. Our cell phones have GPS technology for tracking of teens by parents, or workers by bosses. (Okay, maybe not in real time, unless you have a data service. However, I used to audit employee cell phone bills, so once a month, I saw from what city the user made calls. "Uh, do we have an office in Pebble Beach... ?")

In grade school and junior high, I was really into science fiction and fantasy. I remember the fantastic gadgets - video phones in 2001: A Space Odyssey; Star Trek's communicators and phasers; the awesome and frightening vehicles of U.F.O. and Space 1999. (Re videophones: Our family tried the webcam calls for a while a few years back - the novelty quickly wore off , although now that we all have broadband interwebs, maybe it would be less annoying.)

What will we come up with next? Google had suggestions, but it was all way over my head. I'm just hoping I can soon justify, and afford, getting an iPhone. I have great tools on my PCs, and my favorite web apps, but as for device-to-device communications? Not so much. I CAN send/receive text messages, and have been known to tweet therefrom!

Ideas, anyone? Please let me know!

23 January 2009

I'm an artist - for reals!

I submitted a little water color piece of work to the fan art competition at POPPORN - it got selected! You can see the submissions here (nsfw). So excited! So cool!

Friday morning quickie

Unfortunately, I'm referring to this post, so get your mind out of the gutter. Lack of time management is making everything a quickie today. We slept through the alarm until about 6:27 am - Sweetie's carpool was scheduled to pick him up at 6:45. Yikes! Managed to get him out the door on time, with two travel mugs of coffee. It's a teacher work day, which means he wears shorts. Even though it's raining. It's tradition.

Haven't blogged since the inauguration, so let me now share my growing delight with the new president. He included non-believers as part of the America's "patchwork heritage" - praise jeebus & thank ganesha ;/-

I applied for a "real" job today, since incoming work has trickled to a stop. It's part-time, long-term temp - and local - so I can keep up with my studies and do a little transcription on the side when the opportunity arises.

I'm lovin' the twitter - I keep finding more folks to follow. For about the last week, it's been POPPORNBLOG for popporn.com (NSFW). Can't wait to see the results of the Fan Art contest; I submitted some work of my own. This week, they presented AVN Best New Starlet-winner Stoya with a special award of their own. I was familiar with Stoya from reading Christine Kessler's blog, but haven't seen her on film yet. CK is an awesome photographer and loads of fun to follow on twitter as well. I recommend you buy her stuff.

Have to be productive now, let's see how long I can avoid the tweet/face cycle of time wasting... Happy Friday!

19 January 2009

Obama-nauga-rama!


Less than 12 hours to launch! Sooooo many events happening, IRL & online. I'm giving myself the day off work (hah!) so I can be part of history in my own little way. Got the computers for the online stuff, and TV for the, uh, TV stuff. Sites I intend to follow:

Susie Bright - Live-Blogging, w/video stream courtesy of Hulu

Facebook & CNN.com live updates

NPR.org will have live feed from people around the country, tweeting, texting, YouTubing, etc.

And I'll probably try to get my brother-in-law the historian on the phone for his always insightful take on things historical.

And I know there's tons more out there if I would just look at twitter or google it or whatever!

Tomorrow night, I'll be at Monterey County Democrats' Inaugural Celebration dinner/dance in Seaside. Can't twitpic from the phone, but will send tweets, and I'm bringing the digi camera.

I think I'll be crying with the rest of you tomorrow (and not just those tears of relief that Bush is out). It will be an awesome day to put an awesome man into office. Wow. And I won't even let the Warren thing bring me down.

Let me know what you're doing, if you'd like to share!

And Happy Inauguration to you, Mr. President.

17 January 2009

Split Enz were wrong

At Facebook, I started a group in support of my brother-in-law, a Cold War historian. It's called *I Care* about the Origins of the Cold War. To give us more meaningful content than just cheerleading ("Go, Curt, go! Research, research, write-write-write!"), I started posting links to history.com's "This day in history."

Like Curt, & my sweetie, I love studying history. Unlike those guys, American history isn't my specialty - I dig the ancient Romans, man.

It's fun to look at what was going on in the news of the past - generally, the same things that are going on now. It just took longer to do things, and to learn about them. In 1968, you needed the newswires and access to the papers to learn about plane crashes and survivors. As opposed to the twitterverse seeing it first and sharing it with everybody.

Another '68 reference came up as I was listening to Hartlepoole vs. Northampton online yesterday. They commentators were speaking of technology and communication, reading emails from my fellow U.S. listeners during the course of their U.K. based-game. And if I understood the commentary correctly, in 1968, local Hartlepool fans had to waited hours for the post office to open - to get the phone call that their team had won promotion in the previous night's match. (And no, I'm not a Hartlepool fan m'self, was following the competition; they're in the same league as my Millwall Lions - MILLLLLLLLLWALLLLLLLLL!!)

So back to "This Day in Cold War History." Apparently, President Eisenhower was warning the nation that "this new military-industrial complex could weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect." Hey, maybe Ike was psychic!

16 January 2009

Starting the week on Friday

Friday morning. It's 0700, do you know where your priorities are? Mine are stored in numerous files ending with txt, odt, doc, jpg. Blogging is not one of them, not officially, but I mean it to be. Do you think there may be an underlying problem here? Multiple priorities, multiple places & formats, missing items... oh, and then avoiding putting it all together. Hmmm. I was going to make a joke about having seasonal affective disorder, a joke because how could one want to hibernate from or be bummed by this Central Coast weather? It's been lovely, mid-70s with lots of strong sunshine. I'm not hibernating 'cause of the weather, but have retreated from my priorities (read: responsibilities) this week for some reason. Among other things I should be doing (earning a living, cleaning the house, looking after the cats and husband -not nec. in that order), HEY - there's that half-marathon coming up in April - Now, I trained for the the Nike Women's Half-Marathon in '07 in less than three months, thanks to Team in Training. This one, I'm doing on my own (did the 10k in 2003), 'tho I'm kind of a lazy coach and trainer! However, having made my full and honest confession, I now resolve to do better by gathering the contents of those previously mentioned files, and making a proper list of priorities, goals, and steps by which to achieve them (and yes, I have half-marathon training plans in there, too.)

Wow, I feel better already. I have my plan of action; my tools and materials are all right here. It's especially timely because I need to get my house in order so I can properly celebrate the Inauguration! And just to make myself accountable, I'll post my progress here, somewhere, maybe have separate training threads or something... yeah, that's it - accountability... and I'll get on that as soon as I make another pot of decaf...

07 January 2009

On reporting gang activity

Lacking income-earning work, of course I find lots of time on my hands. I like using Google reader to catch me up on my favorite blogs but discovered a disadvantage. Lacking a feed of "regular" headlines, I've been missing out on local news. The terrible irony of this: the same day I made my cops = gang members analogy, an Oakland man's family was mourning his loss at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer. And subsequently, cell phone video taken by witnesses supported early reports that the young man was face-down on the ground, surrounded by three officers, when one of them stands up, pulls his gun, then shoots the man in the back. The investigations are just starting, so no word on whether there is evidence that deadly force was required. Initially, it looks like NOT.

As to the gang analogy: if one associates with & acts like a gang - one is guilty by that association. This may have been a deliberate act by a psycho rogue cop, showing a resisting detainee who's the boss. Or, still horrible but less sinister, perhaps it is a terrible mistake by a guy who panicked under stress. But either way, if he could do it, ANY cop could do it.

"Normal" (privileged) people wonder, "Why would an innocent person run from or be scared of the police?" Hey, stories like this are the inadvertent public service message from the man about the man: know what gang members look like, know their reputation for violent criminal activity, including murder, be scared of them, report them. At least there were lots of witnesses to this crime, and they all know who to call.

01 January 2009

Happy New Year - wanna be a spy for the man?

We missed ringing in the New Year by 30 minutes or so - just couldn't keep our eyes open any longer. Not having a big motivation, like being on the banks of the Thames surrounded by thousands of people, made it seem like just another day.

We lazed in bed till after 9, then caught the end of the Rose Parade Coverage in lovely HD. The notable interruptions? Every commercial break included a spot inviting viewers who have seen suspected gang activity to call the Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force hotline. It had a dramatic voiceover; the image was just white text on a black background. It was not festive or celebratory in any way, and raised a whole bunch of questions.

What exactly is gang activity? For that matter, what do they mean by a gang? Crips & Bloods, Nortenos & Surenos, Jets & Sharks? The commercial didn't offer any definitions, so I checked out the MCJGT website. You have to dig for it, but a list of warning signs is there. Many of them apply to teenagers in general. For sure, the first five (half of the points!) applied to me in high school. Take a look:
  • Poor academic progress in school.
  • Lack of interest in school activities.
  • Large blocks of unsupervised time.
  • Signs of increased conflict at home.
  • Frequent disciplinary problems at home and/or school.
  • Frequent contact with police.
  • Drawing graffiti.
  • Imitating gang dress or behavior. [What is gang dress?]
  • Tattoos drawn on the body.
  • Uses hand signs adopted by a gang.
This simple definition of a street gang comes from Know Gangs (emphasis mine):
  • three or more people,
  • who share a unique name or have identifiable marks or symbols, (such as tattoos, wearing certain styles of clothing, colors, hairstyles, graffiti, etc.)
  • associate together on a regular basis and sometimes claim a specific location or territory,
  • have an identifiable organization or hierarchy, (although the leader for one type of criminal activity may be different from that of another criminal activity),
  • and either individually or collectively engage in antisocial, unlawful or criminal activity in an effort to further the gang's social or economical status.
I'm surely not the first person to notice the irony of that description, excluding the criminal adjectives, when applied to this photo:

They've even got the stylized photo & the posturing. (And where are the female officers???)

Heck, I'm gonna call & report the activity of our local gang - Pebble Beach residents. They're easily identified by the resident badges on their vehicles; they claim a very large, specific, exclusive territory; they proudly associate with each other; and damn if they don't routinely make illegal left turns from Lighthouse Avenue.

For now, well, I'm gonna get back to watching the Biggest Loser marathon - no ads recruiting spies there.